North Richland Hills
After a week of deliberation, C.J. Roberts has decided to stick with his original commitment to Missouri and be a part of Cuonzo Martin’s first recruiting class in Columbia.
The four-star point guard announced his reaffirmation to the program Monday afternoon on a Houston radio station.
Roberts told PowerMizzou.com on Sunday night that after Martin visited him a week ago, he was impressed with how straightforward the Tigers' new coach was with him, despite having never met him.
“He wasn’t one of those guys that came in and said alright I want you to do this,” he said. “He pretty much told me what I was going to have to do and what he wanted me to be and that I had the option to leave and I thought that was the biggest thing. Straightforward honesty and respect.”
Roberts is currently part of a two-man class for Missouri that also features the nation’s top player in Michael Porter Jr.
The North Richland Hills, Texas native has known Porter since middle school when they met at a camp and hung out with him this past summer at the Pangos All-American Camp in Los Angeles.
“Me and Mike, we actually went to a John Lucas camp in the eighth grade and we were on the same team and that’s when I first met him,” he said. “And ever since then throughout our high school lives we see each other at camps and we always talk to each other.”
Ranked no. 98 in the 2017 Rivals150, Roberts committed to Missouri back in October under former coach Kim Anderson and decided to wait and see what Martin had to say before deciding whether to ask out of his National Letter of Intent.
Roberts was in constant contact with Missouri’s current players during the waiting period and said they told him that they’d support him regardless of where he played college basketball.
“They just told me to go with my first gut feeling,” he said. “They said if I didn’t come we were still going to be tight and cool even if we weren’t on the same team.”
The 6-foot point guard said that after meeting Martin, he decided he wanted to play for someone who was going to be hard on him like the Tigers' new coach.
Martin also won over Roberts’ father Craig, who has been an AAU coach for over 20 years.
Craig Roberts said every person he called that knew Martin had nothing but good things to say about him.
He added that some coaches he didn’t plan on asking went out of their way to call him and express their support for Missouri’s new coach while the family waited to meet him.
“Everyone that I know that knows him, the first thing anyone said to me when I saw him was he’s a good guy and would be good with my son,” he said. “I do mean everyone. I can give you a list of all the kind of people that know him and called me to say he would be a good guy for my son.”
Another important factor for Craig Roberts was Martin’s defensive philosophy as a coach. For years Craig has told his son that the biggest thing he was missing as a player was to be a factor on the defensive side of the ball.
When Martin told the family during their meeting that playing no defense is the easiest way for his players to ride the bench, the elder Roberts knew that the family was in good hands.
“He laid it out,” Craig Roberts said. “You don’t defend, you don’t play. He told CJ that straight out. That’s non-negotiable. It only makes you a better player.”
With both Porter and Roberts now in the fold, Missouri has one open scholarship left barring any roster attrition. The Tigers host five-star forward Kevin Knox for an official visit this weekend along with former Washington signee Blake Harris.
Martin’s first class at Missouri could also end up being one of the school’s most highly ranked in program history.